We Have Always Been Here
A Queer Muslim Memoir
CANADA READS 2020 WINNER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 EDNA STAEBLER AWARD FOR CREATIVE NON-FICTION
2020 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNER
ONE OF BOOK RIOT'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL QUEER BOOKS OF ALL TIME
How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don't exist?
Samra Habib has spent most of their life searching for the safety to be themself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, they faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From their parents, they internalized the lesson that revealing their identity could put them in grave danger.
When their family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, their need for a safe space--in which to grow and nurture their creative, feminist spirit--became dire. The men in Samra's life wanted to police them, the women in their life had only shown them the example of pious obedience, and their body was a problem to be solved.
So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes them to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within them all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self.
About this Author
SAMRA HABIB (they/them) is a writer, photographer, and activist. As a journalist they've covered topics ranging from fashion trends and Muslim dating apps to the rise of Islamophobia in the US. Their writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Advocate, and their photo project, "Just Me and Allah," has been featured in Nylon, i-D, Vanity Fair Italia, Vice, and The Washington Post. Samra works with LGBTQ organizations internationally, raising awareness of issues that impact queer Muslims around the world. We Have Always Been Here is their first book.
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